UNDERWRITERS REPORT ON BERLIN.
The committee on Fire-Prevention of the National Board of Fire Underwriters on the conditions of Berlin, N. H.: Population estimated to be 13,000. The city is very hilly; grades in outlying districts offer serious hindrance to the movement of fire department apparatus. General width of streets, 40 ft. Main street paved with macadam in fair condition; all other streets of dirt construction, in fair to very poor condition. Temperatures severe in winter. Number of fires very low; average loss per fire excessive.
Firefighting Facilities.—Water Supply.— Works owned and operated by the Berlin water company. Management efficient. Supply available from reservoirs and auxiliary pumping station is adequate. Pressures satisfactory, but not well maintained, even under moderate fire-draught. Supply mains too small and not in duplicate. Main artery too small and secondary feeders lacking. Minor distributors mostly 6-in., poorly gridironed and with many dead ends. Gate-valves not systematically inspected; spacing too wide. Hydrants of satisfactory type, in good condition; generally too far apart. Fire Department.— Part full paid and part call basis. Financial support inadequate. Apparatus located so as to give good protection to the principal mercantile district; southern and western sections of the city poorly protected. Amount of apparatus insufficient. Engine is of adequate size and in good condition. Ladder-service fair. Hose supply only fair. Minor equipment fair. Horses are used for other than fire-department purposes. Drills insufficient to secure good service. Response to alarms only fair. Fire methods satisfactory. Building inspection lacking, although it is called for by city ordinance. Service, as a whole, weak and only fairly efficient. Fire-Alarm System.—Automatic system; headquarters poorly protected; under proper management, but not properly maintained. Apparatus new and in good condition. Circuits all overhead, of iron wire, about ten per cent, bare and in many cases on same poles, with high-tension wires. All boxes are of brush-contact, interfering type, with keys attached, but not under guard; distribution fair to poor; tests at irregular intervals. No records or maps. Service only fairly reliable. hire Department Auxiliaries.— No fire marshal : duties performed by the board of fire engineers. Public service corporations render no aid. Telephone system small, but extensively used. No private fire-alarm systems nor central-station watch-service. Two private fire engines available for use by the fire department, and four private fire pumps, provided with connections for pumping into city mains, can be used. Outside aid remote. Summary.—Water supply from adequate sources; liable to serious interruption, and not available in sufficient quantities in the city. Fire department fairly efficient. Fire-alarm system fairly reliable, but insufficient in extent, many sections being without boxes. Structural Conditions and Hazards—Building Department.—Building laws meagre and of little value from a fire-protection standpoint. No building inspector at time of inspection. Fire limits do not take in the entire area of blocks. Enforcement fair to poor. Structural conditions conducive to rapidly spreading fires. Explosives and Inflammables. —Under the control of the board of engineers of the fire department. No city ordinances; State laws few and of little value. Local conditions good, except for accumulations of combustible materials in cellars and back of buildings and careless handling of inflammable fluids. Electricity.—No municipal control. Inside wiring installed by the lighting companies and reported to the underwriters. Inspections made by underwriters at irregular intervals. All outside wiring overhead and conditions poor. High-tension wires supported by houses and trees in many places. No trouble reoorted from electn lysis. Conflagration Hazard.—Severe in the principal mercantile district, owing to the large number of frame buildings with shingle roofs and structural weaknesses in the brick construction, the narrow streets, a weak fire department and a Door water-distribution system. Outside of this district there is practically no hazard.
Bids have been submitted at Phoenix, Ariz., for the new waterworks system.